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Sunday, December 10, 2017

What's going on in the World Today 171210

I don't know what to say really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives all comes down to today. Either we heal as a teamor we are going to crumble.

Inch by inch, play by play, till we're finished.

We are in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me and we can stay here and get the s%^& kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell.
One inch, at a time.

Now I can't do it for you. I'm too old. I look around and I see these young facesand I think I mean I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make. I uh....I pissed away all my money believe it or not. I chased off anyone who has ever loved me. And lately, I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror.

You know when you get old in life things get taken from you. That's, that's part of life.
But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out that life is just a game of inches.

So is football. Because in either game life or football the margin for error is so small.
I mean one half step too late or to early you don't quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in ever break of the gameevery minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch. Cause we know when we add up all those inches that's going to make the f&*(ing difference between WINNING and LOSING between LIVING and DYING.

I'll tell you this in any fight it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that inch. And I know if I am going to have any life anymore it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch because that is what LIVING is. The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can't make you do it. You gotta look at the guy next to you. Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.You are going to see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this teambecause he knows when it comes down to it,
you are gonna do the same thing for him.

That's a team, gentlemen and either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals.
That's football guys. That's all it is.

Now, whattaya gonna do?

Figured it was a good start to this post after a great Army-Navy game.



Arrests along Mexico border drop sharply under Trump, new statistics show

The number of people caught trying to sneak over the border from Mexico has fallen to the lowest level in 46 years, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics released Tuesday that offer the first comprehensive look at how immigration enforcement is changing under the Trump administration.

During the government’s 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, U.S. border agents made 310,531 arrests, a decline of 24 percent from the previous year and the fewest overall since 1971.

The figures show a sharp drop in apprehensions immediately after President Trump’s election win, possibly reflecting the deterrent effect of his rhetoric on would-be border crossers; starting in May, the number of people taken into custody began increasing again.

Arrests of foreigners living illegally in the United States have surged under Trump. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers made 110,568 such arrests between inauguration and the end of September, according to the figures published Tuesday, a 42 percent increase over the same period during the previous year.

Microwave weapon could fry North Korean missile controls, say experts

The U.S. has microwave weapons that proponents believe could stop North Korea from launching missiles by frying their electronics.

The weapons were discussed at an August White House meeting related to North Korea, according to two U.S. officials with direct knowledge.

The microwave weapons, known as CHAMPs, are fitted into an air-launched cruise missile and delivered from B-52 bombers. With a range of 700 miles, they can fly into enemy airspace at low altitude and emit sharp pulses of microwave energy to disable electronic systems.

"These high-powered microwave signals are very effective at disrupting and possibly disabling electronic circuits," said Mary Lou Robinson, who heads development of the weapons at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque, in an exclusive interview with NBC News.

A CHAMP missile, short for Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project. The 700-mile range missiles are capable of flying into enemy airspace at low altitude, getting close to targets and emitting a series of sharp pulses of microwave energy to disable electronic systems. NBC News

Advocates say they could be used to stop North Korea from launching missiles by targeting the ground controls and the circuitry in the missiles themselves. The weapons are not currently operational.

How does a high-power microwave (HPM) weapon work?

"Think about when you put something in your microwave that has metal on it," said Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. "You know how badly that goes? Imagine directing those microwaves at someone's electronics."

Sen. Heinrich, a member of the Armed Services Committee, began his career as an engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque.

"Command and control centers are filled with electronic infrastructure which is highly vulnerable to high powered microwaves," said ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, who ran the air wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and retired as the head of Air Force intelligence.

The Air Force and other government agencies have been working on the weaponization of microwaves for over two decades. Various emitters have been employed on the ground — in Afghanistan and Iraq, they have been used to disable improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and small drones.

But turning a high-power microwave into a strategic weapon was slowed by the need to reduce the size and weight of the emitter and then match it with an onboard power source sufficient to drive the microwave pulses.

The Air Force Research Laboratory began work on CHAMP, which stands for Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project, in April 2009. The lab fitted the HPM emitter into a non-nuclear version of a Boeing-built air-launched cruise missile.

B-52s Fighting ISIS Soon Will Carry More Smart Bombs

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar—The U.S. Air Force B-52 squadron fighting Islamic State terrorists in the Middle East soon will be the first to field a key upgrade that will allow the venerable “BUFF” to carry eight additional smart weapons into battle.

The Vietnam-era bomber that flies close-air-support, air interdiction and deliberate targeting missions in U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility today is not your grandfather’s B-52, the airmen of the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (EBS) told Aviation Week during a visit here Nov. 6. The B-52s here came off the line in 1960 and 1961, but various avionics and weapon systems upgrades in recent years have allowed the aircraft to remain a critical contributor to the modern battlefield.

“How we operate as a crew, the interfaces we have with the avionics system, and the weapons themselves—it’s almost completely different than it was just a few years ago,” said Lt. Col. Paul Goosen, 69th EBS commander.

Sometime in the next few months, the 69th EBS will become the first B-52 squadron to complete a key upgrade of the aircraft’s internal weapons bay, adding both precision and firepower to the fight against militants in the Middle East. The addition of the conventional rotary launcher (CRL) and Mil Std 1760 interface will allow the aircraft to carry smart weapons in the internal bay for the first time, enabling it to drop eight additional smart bombs, Goosen said.

The upgrade is a matter of simply changing out the existing three-fingered bomb rack for a yoke in the front and aft of the bay that will connect to the CRL, a process that only takes a few hours per aircraft, Goosen explained. Some of the B-52s here are currently going through the upgrade, and the entire squadron is expected to complete the modification in the next few months.

The change will also allow the B-52s at Al Udeid to drop Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (Jassm), an advanced long-range, radar-evading cruise missile, from the internal weapons bay.

Feds Quietly Reveal Chinese State-Backed Hacking Operation

Prosecutors say Chinese hackers from a mysterious cybersecurity firm stole corporate secrets from three big firms.

Prosecutors in the United States this week quietly outed what appears to be a Chinese state-linked hacking ring, an escalation in Washington’s campaign to pressure China over its trade practices and efforts to steal intellectual property from U.S. firms.

In an indictment unsealed on Monday, federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh allege that a trio of Chinese nationals and their cybersecurity firm Boyusec hacked three companies — industrial giant Siemens, the economic analysis firm Moody’s, and the GPS navigation company Trimble — and made off with sensitive company documents.

The indictment names Wu Yingzhuo, Dong Hao, and Xia Lei. The first two are co-founders of Boyusec, while Xia was an employee. With prosecutors scrutinizing the firm, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Boyusec disbanded earlier this month.

Prosecutors made no mention in court documents of any links between Boyusec and the Chinese state, a departure from a high-profile case in 2014 from the same office that publicly linked alleged hackers to Chinese government ministries. Then, the local FBI office drew up wanted posters of the Chinese army hackers and published photographs of the accused in their army uniforms.

But a trove of public evidence and research by private security firms strongly suggests that Boyusec is an affiliate of China’s powerful Ministry of State Security and appears to operate as a cover for cyber-espionage.

“There has been a lot of accumulated evidence that these guys are tied to the state,” said John Hultquist, the director of analysis for the computer security firm FireEye.

Despite the seemingly clear links between Boyusec and the Ministry of State Security, American officials have described the case as a routine criminal prosecution rather than one that implicates a Chinese intelligence agency…

The Navy is planning fresh challenges to China's claims in the South China Sea

U.S. Navy and Pacific Command leaders want to ratchet up potentially provocative operations in the South China Sea by sailing more warships near the increasingly militarized man-made islands that China claims as sovereign territory, according to several Navy officials.

The freedom of navigation operations, also known as FONOPS, could be carried out by ships with the San Diego-based Carl Vinson carrier strike group, which is in the Pacific Ocean heading toward the South China Sea, according to three defense officials who spoke to Navy Times on condition of anonymity to discuss operations in the planning phase.

The military's plans likely call for sailing within 12 nautical miles of China's newly built islands in the Spratly and/or Paracel islands, a move that would amount to a new challenge to Chinese maritime claims there that has raised tensions between Washington and Beijing in the recent past…

Where the North Korean Crisis Meets the Iran Nuclear Deal

By virtue of its military might, the United States has the unique ability to quickly — and credibly — place its most intractable adversaries under existential threat. Command over the world's most powerful military gives a country options, and the option of regime change can be a tempting one for Washington as it tries to work through some of its more maddening foreign policy dilemmas.

A government living under the constant, lurking threat of decapitation does not particularly enjoy stewing in its own paranoia over what social fissures its enemies can exploit, which allies they can turn and what chain of events could finally push the United States into action. That's why a nuclear deterrent is such an alluring prospect: What better way to kill your adversaries' fantasy of regime change than to stand with them as near-equals on a nuclear plane?

This is North Korea's rationale as the country closes in on demonstrating that it has a fully functional nuclear weapon and delivery arsenal. But Washington's nuclear dilemma doesn't end with Pyongyang. Whether Tehran attempts to return to its treacherous path toward nuclear armament rests in large part on just how seriously the White House entertains and attempts to execute a policy of regime change.FKOREAN




Is Chabahar port a game changer in India-Afghanistan-Central Asia trade?

NEW DELHI (TCA) — On December 3, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the first phase of the Chabahar port development project on the Gulf of Oman, with the participation of senior Afghan and Indian ministers, including the Indian Minister for External Affairs Mrs. Sushma Swaraj.

Iranian media quoted President Rouhani as saying that the port “will enhance trade in the region,” with a final aim to connect not just to Afghanistan via rail, but to the 7,200 km International North South Transport Corridor to Russia.

Chabahar is an open sea port in Iran’s Sistan Balochistan province next to the Gulf of Oman. The port has a great capacity of shipping goods and services especially for a land-locked country like Afghanistan.

India has committed $500 million to the port project and will develop a free trade area around the port. Its primary interest is developing trade with Afghanistan through the port, which will allow both countries to engage in trade bypassing Pakistan…

JAL Options Up to 20 Boom Supersonic Airliners

Japan Airlines (JAL) has entered into a strategic partnership with Boom Supersonic, the Mach 2-plus airliner developer, and has placed purchase options for up to 20 aircraft.

The Japanese flag carrier becomes the second airline after Virgin Atlantic to reveal its support of the Denver-based supersonic airliner project, which is targeting entry into service in the mid-2020s. Together with the 10 options announced by Virgin in mid-2017, the JAL commitment represents almost half of the 76 options received by Boom to date. Three additional operators for the remaining 46 aircraft remain unidentified.

The Boom concept is targeting supersonic travel at current business-class prices by bringing together a 55-seat design using structures, advanced aerodynamics and propulsion technology that was not available in the 1960s for the development of the Anglo-French Concorde, the world’s first operationally successful supersonic airliner. The delta-winged Boom trijet design is intended to rely on a 10% higher speed than Concorde to achieve high use and shorter sector times on 4,500-nm routes, most of which will be flown over water.


Germany Is Preparing to Send Refugees Back to Syria
Syria’s war isn’t over, but a growing number of German policymakers are trying to revoke asylum and send Syrians back home — against their will, if necessary.

Later this week, the interior ministers of the German states will be discussing, and voting on, a proposal to be begin forcibly repatriating Syrian refugees once their asylum status lapses — as early as next June. If they agree, it would then be up to the federal interior ministry to decide whether parts of Syria are safe for return. That is considered unlikely, at least for the moment.

But as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad mops up remaining opposition to his rule, and as the threat from the Islamic State melts away, Germany and other European states will have to judge — far sooner than they expected to — whether to send Syrians back to their devastated homeland, or to some portion of it. Given the political pressures, there is no reason to assume that the decision will be based on the best interests of the refugees themselves…

Parliament Joins the Battle Over Brexit


The EU Withdrawal Bill that will transfer EU rules and norms into British law, a crucial part of the Brexit process, has entered the lower House of Commons for debate and is scheduled for final approval in early 2018.

Lawmakers in both the governing Conservative party and the opposition Labour party are criticizing the bill and will need to address various controversial topics before the end of the year.

Political infighting could lead to the appointment of a new prime minister, though replacing British Prime Minister Theresa May with another Conservative politician won’t heal party divisions.

The British Parliament has begun answering important questions about the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union. On Nov. 14, the EU Withdrawal Bill, which will repeal the European Communities Act of 1973 and transfer EU rules and norms into British law, entered the committee stage in the lower House of Commons. The lower house will debate and vote on hundreds of amendment proposals until late December, when the bill will be sent to the upper House of Lords for discussion and approval in early 2018.

The bill has a simple goal: Ensure legal continuity after Britain leaves the bloc. Over time, British authorities will have the chance to decide what to keep, what to amend and what to scrap. But lawmakers in both the governing Conservative party and the opposition Labour party are criticizing this crucial step of the Brexit process. Although the government managed to agree on several proposed amendments during the first day of debate, the most controversial topics remain and will need to be addressed before the end of the year…


The Battle for Advantage in Afghanistan
Both the U.S.-backed Afghan National Security Forces and the Taliban will ramp up their operations in the years ahead to break the stalemate in Afghanistan. 
The Taliban will seek to elevate its rural insurgency by seizing critical urban terrain, while Afghan security forces will transition to major offensive operations to regain key territory in the countryside. 
Both sides, however, will face substantial obstacles, impeding their efforts toward breaking the stalemate. 
The war in Afghanistan, which has embroiled U.S. and NATO forces in battle with Taliban insurgents for the better part of two decades, remains locked in a stalemate that both sides are trying to figure out how to break. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the U.S. forces in the country,

acknowledged the impasse in a Nov. 23 interview, but added that he thinks a coming surge of U.S. troops into the country will help the Afghan National Security Forces conduct major offensives over the next two years that will turn the tide of the war in their favor. Meanwhile, on the other side of the conflict, the Taliban have been busy shoring up their positions and looking for ways to intensify their insurgency. For both sides, however, breaking the stalemate is much easier said than done, especially given the complexities inherent to the Afghan battlefield.


Japan to help finance China's Belt and Road projects

The Japanese government plans to cooperate with China on its Belt and Road initiative by financially supporting private-sector partnerships, as Tokyo seeks to improve bilateral ties with its Asian neighbour, the Nikkei reported on Wednesday.

Cooperation will centre on the environmental sector, industrial modernization and logistics, according to guidelines compiled by the government, the Japanese business daily said.

Assistance will include loans through government-backed financial institutions to promote cooperation among private Japanese and Chinese firms working on projects in third-party countries, it said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road initiative is an extensive infrastructure plan that will link Asia with the Middle East and Europe, although critics say it is more about spreading Chinese influence...


Iran: The Prime Suspect in a Dissident's Death

Fred Burton

When I see news of a political activist's slaying, the first thing I look for is how the crime was committed. Often, the modus operandi will have characteristics in common with those from other cases of politically motivated murder that I have investigated in the past. The path to finding answers in some of those cases can be crystal clear, but investigators in others must follow a very murky trail, especially in those carried out by state-sponsored actors.

On Nov. 9, the Reuters news service reported on the murder of Iranian political activist Ahmad Mola Nissi, who was shot to death on a street in Amsterdam. Dutch police arrested a suspect who had fled the scene after the attack, but he has since been released from custody. Curiously, Nissi had been part of a group seeking to establish an independent state inside Iran, an aspiration that points toward a state-sponsored suspect in the case. As our Threat Lens team wrote: "The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been implicated in carrying out surveillance on targets of interest in Europe, and could certainly carry out hits like this one. While nothing concrete so far links Iran to the killing, no motives more compelling than silencing a separatist have been put forward."






North Korea: The Limits of Chinese Pressure
Washington is becoming more and more concerned that North Korea will achieve its goal of creating a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States as early as next year. The United States is doing all it can economically, politically and militarily to stop it, but North Korea hasn't slowed the pace of its test launches, the latest of which it conducted Nov. 28. In response, U.S. President Donald Trump phoned Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov. 30 to discuss the launch and to urge Beijing to cut its economic ties to North Korea. Less conspicuously but perhaps more notably, the day before the call, U.S. and Chinese military leaders engaged in rare security talks in Washington.
China has recently increased its economic pressure on North Korea and its compliance with U.N. sanctions, investigating companies with trade ties to North Korea and those under U.N. sanctions. But the efforts have done little to deter North Korea, and the United States wants China to do more. According to the White House, during the phone call Trump urged Xi to use all the levers at his disposal to convince North Korea to halt its nuclear program, including cutting all oil exports to the country. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley later warned in an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council that if China did not take that critical step itself, the United States would "take the oil situation into [its] own hands." China, for its part, is sticking fast to its demand that the United States and South Korea stop military drills in the region in exchange for North Korea halting its weapons program...

Securing North Korean nuclear sites would require a ground invasion, Pentagon says
The only way to locate and secure all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons sites “with complete certainty” is through an invasion of ground forces, and in the event of conflict, Pyongyang could use biological and chemical weapons, the Pentagon told lawmakers in a new, blunt assessment of what war on the Korean Peninsula might look like.
The Pentagon, in a letter to lawmakers, said that a full discussion of U.S. capabilities to “counter North Korea’s ability to respond with a nuclear weapon and to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons located in deeply buried, underground facilities” is best suited for a classified briefing.
The letter also said that Pentagon leaders “assess that North Korea may consider the use of biological weapons” and that the country “has a long-standing chemical weapons program with the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood and choking agents.”
The Pentagon repeated that a detailed discussion of how the United States would respond to the threat could not be discussed in public…
The History of North Korea's Arsenal
Editor's Note
The war of words between the United States and North Korea is escalating, and the world is watching intently to see what each country does next. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has even threatened to carry out an atmospheric nuclear test over the Pacific Ocean. But such a display would simply be the latest in a lengthy series of missile and nuclear tests that spans over a decade. Each new step that Pyongyang has taken in its development of missile and nuclear technology has been critical to its goal of acquiring a viable nuclear deterrent to U.S. military action against it. And further strides are on the horizon.
A Look at the Islamic State's Infiltration of a Syrian Air BaseSatellite imagery shows the damage inflicted to a Syrian airbase

Imagery acquired by Stratfor working with its partners at AllSource Analysis illustrates the damage inflicted by an Islamic State infiltration attack on the Syrian loyalist air base at Deir el-Zour. A relief force recently reached the base and the Deir el-Zour garrison, which had endured more than three years of siege by the Islamic State. As can be seen from the attack, however, the Islamic State still maintains the capability to inflict damage and carry out attacks in the region even as it has technically ceased to control territory around Deir el-Zour and its airbase.
On Nov. 13, reports from loyalist sources indicated that the Islamic State had conducted a suicide infiltration attack on Deir el-Zour air base. Subsequent reports from loyalist sources in the days after the attack highlighted how a vehicle full of Islamic State fighters dressed as Russian troops and speaking Russian successfully talked their way onto the base before initiating their surprise attack. Satellite imagery from Nov. 18 depicts the aftermath of the attack, illustrating how the Islamic State fighters were able to penetrate about 600 meters through checkpoints, security fences and defensive fighting positions before reaching their key targets, the L-39 trainers used as light attack jets by the Syrian Arab air force. The attackers appear to have inflicted considerable damage, destroying up to four of the jets, which airbase personnel look to have subsequently pushed off the aircraft aprons. As of Nov. 18, satellite imagery points to six L-39 jets still being operational at Deir el-Zour air base, although one of these jets appears to have been lost in a crash on approach to the base on Nov. 21. All told, the Syrian Arab air force likely lost half of its L-39s at Deir el-Zour over the span of a couple of weeks, greatly reducing its capacity to provide air support for local counterinsurgency operations.
Trump could let the UAE buy F-35 jets: The Trump administration has agreed to consider a long-standing request by the UAE to enter into preliminary talks on future procurement of the F-35 joint strike fighter.
WASHINGTON ― As part of a larger U.S. strategy for enhanced strategic cooperation with the United Arab Emirates, the Trump administration has agreed to consider a long-standing request by Abu Dhabi to enter into preliminary talks on future procurement of the F-35 joint strike fighter.
While no decision has been made, the willingness to consider extending a classified briefing to the UAE as the first significant step toward acquisition of the fifth-generation stealth fighter signals a departure from policy enforced under former President Barack Obama. The Obama administration had consistently rebuffed Emirati requests for the briefing dating back to 2011, citing Washington’s commitment to preserve Israel’s so-called Qualitative Military Edge, or QME...
The Defeat and Survival of the Islamic State
Several people have asked me lately whether I thought the Islamic State will become a "virtual caliphate" now that it has lost most of the terrain it once held, including the strategic cities of Mosul and Raqqa. At the same time, I've talked with people who claim that the Islamic State has been destroyed. Both viewpoints have some truth to them, but neither is the whole truth. Both miss where the Islamic State is really headed.
Charting the Islamic State
When attempting to chart the trajectory of the Islamic State pole of the jihadist movement, it is important to recognize that the group is more of a movement than an organization. As we see it, the Islamic State has three main components: the Islamic State core in Iraq and Syria; the Islamic State franchises in Libya and other parts of the world; and grassroots jihadists who are not connected to the core or to the franchise groups. While each element swears allegiance to Caliph Ibrahim, also known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, they are all distinct and will respond differently to the Islamic State's losses on the battlefield.
The core organization, of course, has taken the biggest hit from the coalition efforts against it in Iraq and Syria. In addition to losing huge stretches of terrain, the group has lost vast numbers of troops and heavy weapons systems, along with significant sources of funding. In this sense, it's true that the physical caliphate as it existed in 2014 has been destroyed. That doesn't mean, however, that the Islamic State core organization has been destroyed. The group has weathered defeats before…
The Rapid Rise of Mohammed bin Salman
Something extraordinary is happening in Saudi Arabia. The new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, or MbS, as many call him, has embarked on changes that could alter the world.
Breaking Taboos
His ambitious plan for the kingdom's future, Saudi Vision 2030 — worked out with help from the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. — envisages a whole panoply of reforms. The measures range from health care and education initiatives to a $500 billion project to build a new city to proposals for treating the Saudi economy's "addiction to oil." Along with reform, MbS is taking on his country's cultural and political taboos. He wants to break the taboo against selling off any part of the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., better known as Saudi Aramco, by floating an initial public offering for less than 5 percent of the huge company. Proceeds from the sale would go toward creating the world's largest sovereign investment fund, which, as MbS described in his first interview on Al-Arabiya television, would "take control over more than (10) percent of the investment capacity of the globe" and "own more than (3) percent of the assets on Earth." MbS is also breaking the long-standing taboo that forbids women from driving.
And perhaps most significant, he wants to break the hold of the hard-line Wahhabi clerics who came to power in 1979, when militants occupied Mecca's Grand Mosque at the time of the Islamic revolution in Iran. Public entertainment has been banned since then, but MbS will bring it back. As he said to a gathering of some 3,500 visitors he hosted at an economic development conference Oct. 24, Saudis "are returning to what we were before — a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world ... We will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas. We will destroy them today." He then vowed to "eradicate the remnants of extremism very soon…"
Exclusive: Yemen rebel missiles fired at Saudi Arabia appear Iranian - U.N.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Remnants of four ballistic missiles fired into Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Houthi rebels this year appear to have been designed and manufactured by Riyadh’s regional rival Iran, a confidential report by United Nations sanctions monitors said, bolstering a push by the United States to punish the Tehran government.
The independent panel of U.N. monitors, in a Nov. 24 report to the Security Council seen by Reuters on Thursday, said it “as yet has no evidence as to the identity of the broker or supplier” of the missiles, which were likely shipped to the Houthis in violation of a targeted U.N. arms embargo imposed in April 2015.
Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Iran of supplying Houthi rebels with a missile that was fired into Saudi Arabia in July and called for the United Nations to hold Tehran accountable for violating two U.N. Security Council resolutions…
MISCA Key Intelligence Advisory Board Has No MembersPresident Trump’s antipathy toward the intel community extends to the Intelligence Advisory Board.
After more than a year, U.S. President Donald Trump has failed to nominate a single member to work on an advisory board that reviews the intelligence community, and which has played a low-profile, but sometimes critical role in previous administrations.
The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, established in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to track Soviet development of nuclear weapons and bombers, is a part-time independent committee typically made up of experts from outside government in law, industry, technology, and the military — and sometimes the president’s personal friends and political donors. The board tends to operate in the shadows, and many of its decades-old recommendations and meetings have only recently been declassified.
One diplomat's stinging resignation letter offers a glimpse into the weakening State Department under Trump.
While National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton told Foreign Policy Trump “will definitely be nominating members” in August, no names publicly surfaced as possible appointees, apart from September news reports suggesting that tech magnate and Trump confidante Peter Thiel might be in the running to be the chair.
While advisory board’s Wikipedia page was edited two months ago to include Thiel as an advisor, Anton insists the information is incorrect. “We haven’t named anyone,” Anton said. The Atlantic reported Thiel dropped out of consideration earlier this month.
Three senior White House sources told Vanity Fair in September that Thiel was a favored choice to hold the intelligence advisor post because Trump wanted a “fresh set of eyes” when it comes to overseeing the intelligence community. It’s unclear who else would be considered in Thiel’s place if he has, in fact, withdrawn his name from consideration.
The White House webpage where details about the board are meant to reside is currently blank, other than a note to “Check back soon for more information…”

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